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PUBLIC LIBRARY ,.,, 




III 

0658 j 



PHANTASMAGORIA 




MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED 

LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCUTTA . MADRAS 
MELBOURNE 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NK\V YOU 1C . BOSTON . CHICAGO 
DALLAS . SAN FRANCISCO 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD. 

TORONTO 



PHANTASMAGORIA 

AND OTHER POEMS 



BY 

LEWIS CARROLL 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 

BY 

ARTHUR B. FROST 



MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED 
ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON 

1919 



First published in 1869. 



Irtstribcb to H b*ur <f bUb: 

in memory of golDtn summer hours 

Hub folnsprrs cf a summer sea. 



Girt with a boyish garb for boyish task. 

Eager she wields her spade : yet loves as well 
Rest on a friendly knee, intent to ask 
The tale one loves to tell. 



Rude scoffer of the seething- outer strife, 

Unmeet to read her pure and simple spright, 
Deem, if thou wilt, such hours a waste of life, 

Empty of all delight : 



Chat on, sweet Maid, and rescue from annoy 
Hearts that by wiser talk are unbeguiled. 
Ah, happy he who owns that tenderest joy, 
The heart-love of a child ! 



Away, fond thoughts, and vex my soul no more ! 

Work claims my wakeful nights, my busy days, 
Albeit bright memories of that sunlit shore 
Yet haunt my dreaming gaze. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

PHANTASMAGORIA, in Seven Cantos :- 



I. (Tiir ITrgstgng .............. i 

II. It) 03 jfgbc Hit Irs ........... 10 

III. JSrarmogrs ............... 18 

IV. ||]gs tourgturc .............. 26 

V. Bgchrrmrnt ................ 34 

VI. Qgscomfpturr ............... 44 

VII. SatJ Sottbcnaunrc ............. 53 

ECHOES ...................... 58 

A SEA DIRGE ................... 59 

J| c Carprttc IstnggFjtc ................ 64 

HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING ........... 66 

MELANCHOLETTA ................. 78 

A VALENTINE ................... 84 

THE THREE VOICES : 

Cfje JFirst Foicc ................ ^7 



^rconti Foicc ............... 9^ 

Uotce ........ ....... 109 



viii CONTENTS 



PAGE 



TEMA CON VARIAZIONI 118 

A GAME OF FIVES 120 

POETA FIT, NON NASCITUR 123 

SIZE AND TEARS 131 

ATALANTA IN CAMDEN-TOWN 136 

THE LANG COORTIN' .... . ... 140 

FOUR RIDDLES . . 152 

FAME'S PENNY-TRUMPET 16 



PHANTASMAGORIA 



CANTO I 

TIbe TTrgstgng 

ONE winter night, at half-past nine, 

Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy, 
I had come home, too late to dine, 
And supper, with cigars and wine, 
Was waiting in the study. 

There was a strangeness in the room, 
And Something white and wavy 
Was standing near me in the gloom- 
/ took it for the carpet-broom 
Left by that careless slavey. 

B 




But presently the Thing began 

To shiver and to sneeze : 
On which I said " Come, come, my man ! 
That 's a most inconsiderate plan. 

Less noise there, if you please ! ' 



THE TRYSTYNG 3 

" I Ve caught a cold," the Thing replies, 

" Out there upon the landing." 
I turned to look in some surprise, 
And there, before my very eyes, 
A little Ghost was standing ! 

He trembled when he caught my eye, 

And got behind a chair. 
" How came you here," I said, " and why ? 
never saw a thing so shy. 

Come out ! Don't shiver there!' 

He said cc I 'd gladly tell you how, 

And also tell you why ; 
But " (here he gave a little bow) 
" You're in so bad a temper now, 

You'd think it alia lie. 

" And as to being in a fright, 

Allow me to remark 
That Ghosts have just as good a right 
In every way, to fear the light, 

As Men to fear the dark." 

R ?. 



PHANTASMAGORIA 

" No plea," said I, " can well excuse 

Such cowardice in you : 
For Ghosts can visit when they choose, 
Whereas we Humans ca'n't refuse 

To grant the interview." 

He said a A flutter of alarm 

Is not unnatural, is it ? 
I really feared you meant some harm : 
But, now I see that you are calm, 

Let me explain my visit. 

" Houses are classed, I beg to state, 
According to the number 

o 

Of Ghosts that they accommodate : 
(The Tenant merely counts as weight^ 
With Coals and other lumber). 

" This is a c one-ghost ' house, and you 

When you arrived last summer, 
May have remarked a Spectre who 
Was doing all that Ghosts can do 
To welcome the new-comer. 



THE TRYSTYNG 

" In Villas this is always done- 
However cheaply rented : 
For, though of course there 's less of fun 
When there is only room for one, 
Ghosts have to be contented. 



" That Spectre left you on the Third- 

Since then you Ve not been haunted: 
For, as he never sent us word, 
'Twas quite by accident we heard 
That any one was wantedo 

" A Spectre has first choice, by right, 

In filling up a vacancy; 
Then Phantom, Goblin, Elf, and Sprite- 
If all these fail them, they invite 

The nicest Ghoul that they can see. 

" The Spectres said the place was low, 

And that you kept bad wine : 
So, as a Phantom had to go, 
And I was first, of course, you know, 
I couldn't well decline.' 



PHANTASMAGORIA 

" No doubt," said I, " they settled who 

Was fittest to be sent : 
Yet still to choose a brat like you, 
To haunt a man of forty-two, 

Was no great compliment 1 ' 

* 

" I 'm not so young, Sir," he replied, 

" As you might think. The fact is, 
In caverns by the v/ater-side, 
And other places that I've tried, 
I Ve had a lot of practice : 

"But I have never taken yet 

A strict domestic part, 
And in my flurry I forget 
The Five Good Rules of Etiquette 

We have to know by heart." 

My sympathies were warming fast 

Towards the little fellow : 
He was so utterly aghast 
At having found a Man at last, 

And looked so scared and yellow. 




" IN CAVERNS BY THE WATER-SIDE." 



8 PHANTASMAGORIA 

" At least," I said, a I 'm glad to find 

A Ghost is not a dumb thing ! 
But pray sit down : you '11 feel inclined 
(If, like myself, you have not dined) 
To take a snack of something : 

" Though, certainly, you don't appear 

A thing to offer food to ! 
And then I shall be glad to hear- 
If you will say them loud and clear 

The Rules that you allude to." 

" Thanks ! You shall hear them by and by. 

This is a piece of luck ! ' 
" What may I offer you ? " said I. 
" Well, since you are so kind, I '11 try 

A little bit of duck. 

" One slice ! And may I ask you for 

Another drop of gravy ? ' 
I sat and looked at him in awe, 
For certainly I never saw 

A thing so white and wavy. 



THE TRYSTYNG 



9 




And still he seemed to STOW more white. 

O ' 

More vapoury, and wavier- 
Seen in the dim and flickering light, 
As he proceeded to recite 

His " Maxims of Behaviour.' 



CANTO II 

tRuies 



tc 

JLVJ 

cc 



MY First- -but don't suppose," he said, 

I 'm setting you a riddle 
Is- -if your Victim be in bed, 
Don't touch the curtains at his head, 
But take them in the middle, 

" And wave them slowly in and out, 

While drawing them asunder ; 
And in a minute's time, no doubt, 
He '11 raise his head and look about 
With eyes of wrath and wonder. 

<c And here you must on no pretence 

Make the first observation. 
Wait for the Victim to commence : 
No Ghost of any common sense 
Begins a conversation. 



HYS FYVE RULES 



ii 




" If he should say ' How came 

you here? ' 
(The way that you began, 

Sir,) 
In such a case your course is 

clear- 
On the bat's back, my little 

dear ! ' 
Is the appropriate answer. 



12 PHANTASMAGORIA 

" If after this he says no more, 

You'd best perhaps curtail your 
Exertions go and shake the door, 
And then, if he begins to snore, 

You'll know the thing 's a failure. 

" By day, if he should be alone 
At home or on a walk 

You merely give a hollow groan, 

To indicate the kind of tone 

In which you mean to talk. 

" But if you find him with his friends, 

The thing is rather harder. 
In such a case success depends 
On picking up some candle-ends, 
Or butter, in the larder. 

a With this you make a kind of slide 

(It answers best with suet), 
On which you must contrive to glide. 
And swing yourself from side to side- 
One soon learns how to do it. 




AND SWING YOURSELF FROM SIDE TO SIDE. 



5 : 



PHANTASMAGORIA 

" The Second tells us what is right 

In ceremonious calls :- 
First burn a blue or crimson light ' 
(A thing I quite forgot to-night), 
' Then scratch the door or walls'.' 

I said " You '11 visit here no more, 

If you attempt the Guy. 

I '11 have no bonfires on my floor 

And, as for scratching at the door, 

I 'd like to see you try ! ' 

a The Third was written to protect 

The interests of the Victim, 
And tells us, as I recollect, 
To treat him with a grave respect, 
And not to contradict him"' 



"That's plain," said I, " as Tare and Tret, 

To any comprehension : 
I only wish some Ghosts I 've met 
Would not so constantly forget 

The maxim that you mention ! 



' 







" Perhaps," he said, "you first transgressed 

The laws of hospitality : 
All Ghosts instinctively detest 
The Man that fails to treat his guest 

With proper cordiality. 



16 PHANTASMAGORIA 

If you address a Ghost as Thing! ' 

Or strike him with a hatchet, 
He is permitted by the King 
To drop all formal parleying 

And then you're sure to catch it! 



" The Fourth prohibits trespassing 

Where other Ghosts are quartered: 
And those convicted of the thing 
(Unless when pardoned by the King) 
Must instantly be slaughtered. 

" That simply means c be cut up small ' : 

Ghosts soon unite anew : 
The process scarcely hurts at ail- 
Not more than when you 're what you call 

Cut up ' by a Review. 

" The Fifth is one you may prefer 
That I should quote entire :- 

The King must be addressed as 'Sir' 

This, from a simple courtier , 
Is all the Laws require: 



HYS FYVE RULES i; 

" But, should you wish to do the thing 

With out-and-out 'politeness^ 
Accost him as 'My Goblin King! 
Ana always use^ in answering, 

The phrase c Tour Royal Whiteness! 

u I 'm getting rather hoarse, I fear, 

After so much reciting : 
So, if you don't object, my dear, 
We '11 try a glass of bitter beer- 

I think it looks inviting." 




CANTO III 

Scarmocjes 

" AND did you really walk," said I, 
" On such a wretched night : 

I always fancied Ghosts could fly- 

If not exactly in the sky, 

Yet at a fairish height." 

"It 's very well," said he, " for Kings 

To soar above the earth : 
But Phantoms often find that wings- 
Like many other pleasant things- 
Cost more than they are worth. 

" Spectres of course are rich, and so 
Can buy them from the Elves : 
But we prefer to keep below- 
They Ye stupid company, you know. 
For any but themselves : 



SCARMOGES 



19 




" For, though they claim to be exempt 
From pride, they treat a Phantom 
As something quite beneath contempt- 
Just as no Turkey ever dreamt 
Of noticing a Bantam." 

c 2 



20 PHANTASMAGORIA 

" They seem too proud," said I, a to go 

To houses such as mine. 
Pray, how did they contrive to know 
So quickly that ' the place was low,' 
And that I t kept bad wine ' ? 

" Inspector Kobold came to you- 

The little Ghost began. 
Here I broke in--" Inspector who ? 
Inspecting Ghosts is something new! 

Explain yourself, my man!' 

" His name is Kobold," said my guest : 

u One of the Spectre order : 
You '11 very often see him dressed 
In a yellow gown, a crimson vest, 
And a night-cap with a border. 

" He tried the Brocken business first, 

But caught a sort of chill ; 
So came to England to be nursed, 
And here it took the form of thirst, 
Which he complains of still. 




AND HERE IT TOOK THE FORM OF Tl/tRST.- , 



21 



22 PHANTASMAGORIA 

" Port-wine, he says, when rich and sound, 

Warms his old bones like nectar : 
And as the inns, where it is found, 
Are his especial hunting-ground, 
We call him the Inn-Spectre" 

I bore it- -bore it like a man 



This agonizing witticism ! 
And nothing could be sweeter than 
My temper, till the Ghost began 

Some most provoking criticism. 

u Cooks need not be indulged in waste , 
Yet still you'd better teach them 

Dishes should have some sort of taste. 

Pray, why are all the cruets placed 
Where nobody can reach them ? 

" That man of yours will never earn 

His living as a waiter! 
Is that queer thing supposed to burn ? 
(It 's far too dismal a concern 

To call a Moderator). 



SCARMOGES 23 

" The duck was tender, but the peas 

Were very much too old : 
And just remember, if you please, 
The next time you have toasted cheese, 

Don't let them send it cold. 



cc 



You'd find the bread improved, I think, 

By getting better flour : 
And have you anything to drink 
That looks a little less like ink, 
And isn't quite so sour ? ' 

Then, peering round with curious eyes, 

He muttered " Goodness gracious ! ' 
And so went on to criticise- 
" Your room 's an inconvenient size : 
It 's neither snug nor spacious. 

a That narrow window, I expect, 

Serves but to let the dusk in " 



<c But please," said I, u to recollect 
'Twas fashioned by an architect 

Who pinned his faith on Ruskin ! 



24 PHANTASMAGORIA 

" I don't care who he was, Sir, or 

On whom he pinned his faith! 
Constructed by whatever law, 
So poor a job I never saw, 
As I 'm a living Wraith ! 



" What a re-markable cigar ! 

o 

How much are they a dozen?' 
I growled " No matter what they are ! 
You 're getting as familiar 

As if you were my cousin ! 



" Now that 's a thing 7 will not stand, 

And so I tell you flat." 
" Aha," said he, " we 're getting grand ! 
(Taking a bottle in his hand) 

" I '11 soon arrange for that ! 



And here he took a careful aim, 

And gaily cried " Here goes ! ' 
I tried to dodge it as it came, 
But somehow caught it, all the same, 
Exactly on my nose. 



SCARMOGES 25 

And I remember nothing more 

That I can clearly fix, 
Till I was sitting on the floor, 
Repeating " Two and five are four, 

Rut five and two are six." 

What really passed I never learned. 

Nor guessed : I only know 
That, when at last my sense returned, 
The lamp, neglected, dimly burned- 

The fire was getting low- 
Through driving mists I seemed to see 

A Thing that smirked and smiled : 
And found that he was giving me 
A lesson in Biography, 

As if I were a child. 






-if 
CANTO IV 

IRourvture 



_>. " OH, w r hen I was a little 
*" Ghost, 

A merry time had we ! 
Each seated on his favourite 

post, 
We chumped and chawed 

the buttered toast 
They gave us for our 
tea. 1 



7*2 



HYS NOURYTURE 27 

" That story is in print ! ' I cried. 

" Don't say it 's not, because 
It 's known as well as Bradshaw's Guide ! ' 
(The Ghost uneasily replied 

He hardly thought it was). 

" It 's not in Nursery Rhymes ? And yet 

I almost think it is- 
' Three little Ghosteses' were set 
' On posteses,' you know, and ate 

Their c buttered toasteses.' 

" I have the book ; so if you doubt it- 
I turned to search the shelf. 

" Don't stir ! ' he cried. " We '11 do with- 
out it : 

I now remember all about it ; 
I wrote the thing myself. 

" It came out in a c Monthly,' or 

At least my agent said it did : 
Some literary swell, who saw 
It, thought it seemed adapted for 
The Magazine he edited. 



28 PHANTASMAGORIA 

a My father was a Brownie, Sir ; 

My mother was a Fairy. 
The notion had occurred to her, 
The children would be happier, 

If they were taught to vary. 

" The notion soon became a craze ; 

And, when it once began, she 
Brought us all out in different ways- 
One was a Pixy, two were Fays, 

Another was a Banshee ; 



" The Fetch and Kelpie went to school 

And gave a lot of trouble ; 
Next came a Poltergeist and Ghoul, 
And then two Trolls (which broke the 

rule), 
A Goblin, and a Double- 

" (If that 's a snuff-box on the shelf," 

He added with a yawn, 
" I '11 take a pinch)- -next came an Elf,- 
And then a Phantom (that 's myself), 

And last, a Leprechaun. 



HYS NOURYTURE 



29 




u One day, some Spectres 

chanced to call, 
Dressed in the usual white : 
I stood and watched them in 

the hall, 
And couldn't make them out 

at all, 

They seemed so strange a 
sight. 

" I wondered what on earth 

they were, 
That looked all head and 

sack; 
But Mother told me not to 

stare, 
And then she twitched me by 

the hair, 
And punched me in the 

back. 

" Since then I Ve often wished 

that I 
Had been a Spectre born. 



30 PHANTASMAGORIA 

But what 's the use?" (He heaved a sigh.) 
" They are the ghost-nobility, 
.And look on us with scorn. 

" My phantom-life was soon begun : 

When I was barely six, 
I went out with an older one- 
And just at first I thought it fun, 

And learned a lot of tricks. 

" I Ve haunted dungeons, castles, towers- 

Wherever I was sent: 
I Ve often sat and howled for hours, 
Drenched to the skin with driving showers, 

Upon a battlement. 

" It 's quite old-fashioned now to groan 

When you begin to speak : 
This is the newest thing in tone- 
And here (it chilled me to the bone) 
He gave an awful squeak. 

" Perhaps," he added, " to your ear 
That sounds an easy thing ? 



HYS NOURYTURE 31 

Try it yourself, my little dear ! 
It took me something like a year, 
With constant practising. 

" And when you Ve learned to squeak, my man, 

And caught the double sob, 
You 're pretty much where you began : 
Just try and gibber if you can ! 

That 's something like a job ! 

" I've tried it, and can only say 

I 'm sure you couldn't do it, e- 

ven if you practised night and day, 

Unless you have a turn that way, 
And natural ingenuity. 

" Shakspeare I think it is who treats 

Of Ghosts, in days of old, 
Who ' gibbered in the Roman streets,' 
Dressed, if you recollect, in sheets- 

They must have found it cold. 

" I Ve often spent ten pounds on stuff, 
In dressing as a Double ; 



PHANTASMAGORIA 




But, though it answers as a puff, 
It never has effect enough 

To make it worth the trouble. 

" Long bills soon quenched the little thirst 

I had for being funny. 
The setting-up is always worst : 
Such heaps of things you want at first, 

One must be made of money ! 



HYS NOURYTURE 33 

a For instance, take a Haunted Tower, 

With skull, cross-bones, and sheet ; 
Blue lights to burn (say) two an hour, 
Condensing lens of extra power, 
And set of chains complete : 

" What with the things you have to hire- 

The fitting on the robe- 
And testing all the coloured fire- 
The outfit of itself would tire 

The patience of a Job ! 



"And then they 're so fastidious, 

The Haunted-House Committee : 
I Ve often known them make a fuss 
Because a Ghost was French, or Russ, 
Or even from the City ! 

" Some dialects are objected to 

For one, the Irish brogue is : 
And then, for all you have to do, 
One pound a week they offer you, 
And find yourself in Bogies! ' 



D 



CANTO V. 



"DoN'Tthey consult the 'Victims, 'though ?' 
I said. " They should, by rights, 

Give them a chance because, you know, 

The tastes of people differ so, 
Especially in Sprites." 

The Phantom shook his head and smiled. 

" Consult them ? Not a bit ! 
'Twould be a job to drive one wild, 
To satisfy one single child 

There 'd be no end to it ! ' 

" Of course you can't leave children free," 

Said I, u to pick and choose : 
But, in the case of men like me, 
I think c Mine Host ' might fairly be 
Allowed to state his views." 

34 



BYCKERMENT 35 

He said " It really wouldn't pay- 
Folk are so full of fancies. 
We visit for a single day, 
And whether then we go, or stay, 
Depends on circumstances. 

"And, though we don't consult 'MineHost' 

o 

Before the thing 's arranged, 
Still, if he often quits his post, 
Or is not a well-mannered Ghost, 

Then you can have him changed. 

" But if the host 's a man like you- 

I mean a man of sense ; 
And if the house is not too new " 



Why, what has that" said I, "to do 
With Ghost's convenience ? 



" A new house does not suit, you know 
It 's such a job to trim it : 

But, after twenty years or so, 

The wainscotings begin to go, 
So twenty is the limit." 



u 



To trim' was not a phrase I could 
Remember having heard: 

D 2 



36 PHANTASMAGORIA 

"Perhaps," I said, "you'll be so good 
As tell me what is understood 
Exactly by that word ? ' 




" It means the loosening all the doors,' 
The Ghost replied, and laughed : 
"It means the drilling holes .by scores 
In all the skirting-boards and floors, 
To make a thorough draught. 



BYCKERMENT 37 

" You '11 sometimes find that one or two 

Are all you really need 
To let the wind come whistling through- 
But here there '11 be a lot to do ! 

I faintly gasped " Indeed ! 

" If I 'd been rather later, I '11 

Be bound," I added, trying 
(Most unsuccessfully) to smile, 
"You'd have been busy all this while, 
Trimming and beautifying ?' 

" Why, no," said he ; " perhaps I should 

Have stayed another minute- 
But still no Ghost, that 's any good, 
Without an introduction would 
Have ventured to begin it. 

" The proper thing, as you were late, 

Was certainly to go : 
But, with the roads in such a state, 
I got the Knight-Mayor's leave to wait 

For half an hour or so.' 



38 . PHANTASMAGORIA 

"Who 's the Knight-Mayor ?"I cried. In- 
stead 

Of answering my question, 
a Well, if you don't know that" he said, 
" Either you never go to bed, 

Or you Ve a grand digestion I 



vC 



He goes about and sits on folk 
That eat too much at night : 
His duties are to pinch, and poke, 
And squeeze them till they nearly choke. 
(I said " It serves them right ! ") 



"And folk who sup on things like these- 

He muttered, " eggs and bacon- 
Lobster and duck and toasted cheese- 
If they don't get an awful squeeze, 
I 'm very much mistaken ! 



" He is immensely fat, and so 

Well suits the occupation : 
In point of fact, if you must know, 
We used to call him years ago, 
The Mayor and Corporation! 




"HE GOES ABOUT AND SITS ON FOLK. 



39 



PHANTASMAGORIA 

u The day he was elected Mayor 

I know that every Sprite meant 
To vote for me, but did -not dare- 
He was so frantic with despair 

And furious with excitement. 




<c When it was over, for a whim, 

He ran to tell the King ; 
And being the reverse of slim, 



BYCKERMENT 41 

A two-mile trot was not for him 
A very easy thing. 

" So, to reward him for his run 

(As it was baking hot, 
And he was over twenty stone), 
The King proceeded, half in fun, 

To knight him on the spot." 

" 'Twas a great liberty to take! ' 

(I fired up like a rocket). 
"He did it just for punning's sake: 
'The man,' says Johnson, 'that would make 

A pun, would pick a pocket ! ' 



"A man," said he, "is not a King." 

I argued for a while, 
And did my best to prove the thing 
The Phantom merely listening 

With a contemptuous smile. 



At last, when, breath and patience spent, 

I had recourse to smoking- 
tc Your aim" he said, "is excellent: 



42 PHANTASMAGORIA 

But- -when you call it argument 

Of course you 're only joking? 




Stung by his cold and snaky eye, 

I roused myself at length 
To say "At least I do defy 
The veriest sceptic to deny 
That union is strength ! ' 

o 



BYCKERMENT 43 

"That's true enough," said he,"yetstay- 

I listened in all meekness- 
" Union is strength, I 'm bound to say ; 
In fact, the thing 's as clear as day ; 

But onions are a weakness." 



CANTO VI. 

Discomfiture. 

As one who strives a hill to climb, 

Who never climbed before : 
Who finds it, in a little time, 
Grow every moment less sublime, 
And votes the thing a bore : 

Yet, having once begun to try, 

Dares not desert his quest, 
But, climbing, ever keeps his eye 
On one small hut against the sky 

Wherein he hopes to rest : 

Who climbs till nerve and force are spent, 

With many a puff and pant : 
Who still, as rises the ascent, 
In language grows more violent, 

Although in breath more scant : 

Who, climbing, gains at length the place 
That crowns the upward track : 



44 



DYSCOMFYTURE 



45 







And, entering with unsteady pace, 
Receives a buffet in the face 
That lands him on his back : 

And feels himself, like one in 
sleep, 

Glide swiftly down again, 
A helpless weight, from steep to 

steep, 
Till, with a headlong giddy sweep, 

He drops upon the plain- 
So I, that had resolved to bring 

Conviction to a ghost, 
And found it quite a different 

thing: 
o 

From any human arguing, 

Yet dared not quit my post 



46 PHANTASMAGORIA 

But, keeping still the end in view 

To which I hoped to come, 
I strove to prove the matter true 
By putting everything 1 knew 
Into an axiom : 



Commencing every single phrase 
With therefore ' or c because,' 

I blindly reeled, a hundred ways, 

About the syllogistic maze, 

Unconscious where I was. 

Quoth he " That 's regular clap-trap : 
Don't bluster any more. 

Now do be cool and take a nap! 

Such a ridiculous old chap 
Was never seen before ! 

" You 're like a man I used to meet, 
Who got one day so furious 

In arguing, the simple heat 

Scorched both his slippers off his feet 
I said " That's very curious ! ' 




"SCORCHED BOTH HIS SLIPPERS OFF HIS FEE'l 



48 PHANTASMAGORIA 



c< 



Well, it is curious, I agree, 

And sounds perhaps like fibs : 
But still it 's true as true can be- 
As sure as your name 's Tibbs," said he. 
1 said " My name 's not Tibbs.'' 

"Not Tibbs! ' he cried- -his tone became 

A shade or two less hearty- 
" Why, no," said I. " My proper name 
Is Tibbets " "Tibbets?" "Aye, the 



same.' 



" Why, then YOU 'RE NOT THE PARTY ! ' 

With that he struck the board a blow 
That shivered half the glasses. 

" Why couldn't you have told me so 

Three quarters of an hour ago, 
You prince of all the asses ? 

"To walk four miles through mud and rain, 
To spend the night in smoking, 

And then to find that it 's in vain- 

And I Ve to do it all again- 
It 's really too provoking! 



DYSCOMFYTURE 



49 




T. 



u Don't talk ! ' he cried, as I began 

To mutter some excuse. 
" Who can have patience with a man 



' 



50 PHANTASMAGORIA 

That 's got no more discretion than 
An idiotic goose ? 

" To keep me waiting here, instead 
Of telling me at once 

o 

That this was not the house ! ' he said. 
" There, that '11 do be off to bed ! 
Don't gape like that, you dunce ! 



" It 's very fine to throw .the blame 

On me in such a fashion ! 
Why didn't you enquire my name 
The very minute that you came ? 
I answered in a passion. 

" Of course it worries you a bit 
To come so far on foot- 



' 






But how was / to blame for it ? 
" Well, well ! " said he. " I must admit 
That isn't badly put. 

cc And certainly you Ve given me 
The best of wine and victual 



DYSCOMFYTURE 51 

Excuse my violence," said he, 
a But accidents like this, you see, 
They put one out a little. 

<c 'Twas my fault after all, I find 

Shake hands, old Turnip-top !' 
The name was hardly to my mind, 
But, as no doubt he meant it kind, 
I let the matter drop. 

" Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night ! 

When I am gone, perhaps 
They'll send you some inferior Sprite, 
Who '11 keep you in a constant fright 

And spoil your soundest naps. 

tc Tell him you '11 stand no sort of trick ; 

Then, if he leers and chuckles, 
You just be handy with a stick 
(Mind that it 's pretty hard and thick) 

And rap him on the knuckles : 

" Then carelessly remark ' Old coon ! 
Perhaps you 're not aware 

E 2 



PHANTASMAGORIA 

That, if you don't behave, you'll soon 
Be chuckling to another tune- 

And so you'd best take care!' 

"That 's the right way to cure a Sprite 

Of such like goings-on- 
But gracious me ! It 's getting light ! 
Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night 

A nod, and he was gone. 




CANTO VII 



Souvenaunce 







"WHAT 's this?' I pondered. "Have I slept? 

Or can I have been drinking? 
But soon a gentler feeling crept 
Upon me, and I sat and wept 

An hour or so, like winking. 

" No need for Bones to hurry so ! ' 
I sobbed. "In fact, I doubt 



53 



54 PHANTASMAGORIA 

If it was worth his while to go- 
And who is Tibbs, I'd like to know, 
To make such work about ? 

" I Tibbs is anything like me, 

It 's possible," I said, 
" He won't be over-pleased to be 
Dropped in upon at half-past three. 

After he 's snug in bed. 

" And if Bones plagues him anyhow- 
Squeaking and all the rest of it, 

As he was doing here just now- 

/ prophesy there '11 be a row, 

And Tibbs will have the best of it! ' 

Then, as rny tears could never bring 

The friendly Phantom back, 
It seemed to me the proper thing 
To mix another glass, and sing 
The following Coronach. 

And art thou gone, beloved Ghost? 
Best of Familiars! 




"AND TIBBS WILL HAVE THE BEST OF IT." 



56 PHANTASMAGORIA 

Nay then, farewell, my duckling roast, 
Farewell, farewell, my tea and toast , 
My meerschaum and cigars! 



The hues of life are dull and gray , 

'The sweets of life insipid, 
When thou, my charmer, art away- 
Old Brick, or rather, let me say, 
Old Parallelepiped! ' 



Instead of singing Verse the Third, 
I ceased- -abruptly, rather : 

But, after such a splendid word 

I felt that it would be absurd 
To try it any farther. 

So with a yawn I went my way 

To seek the welcome downy, 
And slept, and dreamed till break of day 
Of Poltergeist and Fetch and Fay 
And Leprechaun and Brownie ! 

For year I Ve not been visited 
By any kind of Sprite ; 



SAD SOUVENAUNCE 

Yet still they echo in my head, 
Those parting words, so kindly said, 
" Old Turnip-top, good-night! 



57 




ECHOES 



LADY Clara Vere de Vere 
Was eight years old, she said : 
Every ringlet, lightly shaken, ran itself in 
golden thread. 

She took her little porringer : 
Of me she shall not win renown : 
For the baseness of its nature shall have 
strength to drag her down. 

" Sisters and brothers, little Maid ? 
There stands the Inspector at thy 

* 

door: 

Like a dog, he hunts for boys who know not 
two and two are four." 

" Kind words are more than coronets," 

She said, and wondering looked at me : 

" It is the dead unhappy night, and I must 

hurry home to tea." 

58 



A SEA DIRGE 




THERE are certain thingsas, a spider, a ghost, 
The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for 

three- 
That I hate, but the thing that I hate the 

most 
Is a thing they call the Sea. 



60 A SEA DIRGE 

Pour some salt water over the floor- 
Ugly I'm sure you'll allow it to be : 
Suppose it extended a mile or more, 
That 's very like the Sea. 

Beat a dog till it howls outright- 
Cruel, but all very well for a spree : 
Suppose that he did so day and night, 
That would be like the Sea. 

I had a vision of nursery-maids ; 

Tens of thousands passed by me- 
All leading children with wooden spades, 
And this was by the Sea. 

Who invented those spades of wood ? 

Who was it cut them out of the tree P 
None, I think, but an idiot could- 
Or one that loved the Sea. 

It is pleasant and dreamy, no doubt, to float 
With thoughts as boundless, and souls as 

free ' : 
But, suppose you are very unwell in the boat, 

How do you like the Sea? 




'AND THIS WAS BY THE SEA." 
61 



62 A SEA DIRGE 

There is an insect that people avoid 

(Whence is derived the verb c to flee '). 
Where have you been by it most annoyed ? 
In lodgings by the Sea c 

If you like your coffee with sand for dregs, 

A decided hint of salt in your tea, 
And a fishy taste in the veryeggs- 
By all means choose the Sea. 

And if, with these dainties to drink and eat. 
You prefer not a vestige of grass or tree, 
And a chronic state of wet in your feet, 
Then- -I recommend the Sea. 

For /have friends who dwell by the coast- 
Pleasant friends they are to me ! 
It is when I am with them I wonder most 
That anyone likes the Sea. 

They take me a walk : though tired and 

stiff, 

To climb the heights I madly agree ; 
And, after a tumble or so from the cliff, 

They kindly suggest the Sea. 



A SEA DIRGE 



I try the rocks, and I think it cool 

That they laugh with such an excess of 



cr 



lee, 



As I heavily slip into every pool 
That skirts the cold cold Sea. 




H> c Carpette Ikn^gbte 

I ijabe a horse a rggbte goobe borsc- 
|He boe |( tnbvt those 
scoure jit jjlajine jin l^airnc tottrse 
(ITnU sobbamu on tljcjrrc nose 
Iggjjtc fontb wiu^ptctrb force- 
JTS a ^orsc of dotljes- 



| Ijafrc a sabbel " ^ag'st tbou soe ? 

stjrri-ujjpcs, ytttggbte, io boote ? 
not tbat | anstocre ' |Hoe ' 
it latketlj such, 1 tooote : 

Go o ' v ' 

t gs a mutton-saobtl, (oc ! 
13 art c of ^ flcetne brnte. 

Ijah a biitte a rggbte gooir bntte- 

5ls shall he srcne ijn tgmr. 
jatoe of horse gt fonll not fjrtte; 

Sts use ns more Sttblgme, 
GO -^ 

Jaijre Snr, bob beenust tbou of 
it iis thns bnttc of rbnnie. 

GO t*. O -^ Co 

64 




''I HAVE A HORSE/' 
65 



HIAWATHA'S 
PHOTOGRAPHING 

[In an age of imitation, I can claim no special 
merit for this slight attempt at doing what is known to 
be so easy. Any fairly practised writer, with the 
slightest ear for rhythm, could compose, for hours 
together, in the easy running metre of ' The Song of 
Hiawatha.' Having, then, distinctly stated that I 
challenge no attention in the following little poem 
to its merely verbal jingle, I must beg the candid 
reader to confine his criticism to its treatment of 
the subject.] 

FROM his shoulder Hiawatna 
Took the camera of rosewood, 
Made of sliding, folding rosewood ; 
Neatly put it all together. 
In its case it lay compactly, 
Folded into nearly nothing; 



66 



HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING 67 

But he opened out the hinges, 

Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges, 

Till it looked all squares and oblongs, 

Like a complicated figure 

In the Second Book of Euclid. 




This he perched upon a tripod- 
Crouched beneath its dusky cover 
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence- 
Said, " Be motionless, I beg you ! ' 
Mystic, awful was the process. 

F 2 



68 HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING 

All the family in order 
Sat before him for their pictures : 
Each in turn, as he was taken, 
Volunteered his own suggestions, 
His ingenious suggestions. 

First the Governor, the Father : 
He suggested velvet curtains 
Looped about a massy pillar; 
And the corner of a table, 
Of a rosewood dining-table. 
He would hold a scroll of something, 
Hold it firmly in his left-hand ; 
He would keep his right-hand buried 
(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat ; 
He would contemplate the distance 
With a look of pensive meaning, 
As of ducks that die in tempests. 

Grand, heroic was the notion : 
Yet the picture failed entirely : 
Failed, because he moved a little, 
Moved, because he couldn't help it. 

Next, his better half took courage ; 
She would have her picture taken. 
She came dressed beyond description, 




" FIRST THE GOVERNOR, THE FATHER. 

69 



70 HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING 

Dressed in jewels and in satin 
Far too gorgeous for an empress. 
Gracefully she sat down sideways, 
With a simper scarcely human, 
Holding in her hand a bouquet 
Rather larger than a cabbage. 
All the while that she was sitting, 
Still the lady chattered, chattered, 
Like a monkey in the forest. 
" Am I sitting still ? ' ' she asked him. 
" Is my face enough in profile ? 
Shall I hold the bouquet higher? 
Will it came into the picture ? ' 
And the picture failed completely. 

Next the Son, the Stunning-Cantab : 
He suggested curves of beauty, 
Curves pervading all his figure, 
Which the eye might follow onward, 
Till they centered in the breast-pin, 
Centered in the golden breast-pin. 
He had learnt it all from Ruskin 
(Author of { The Stones of Venice,' 
* Seven Lamps of Architecture,' 
' Modern Painters,' and some others) ; 




"NEXT THE SON, THE STUNNING-CANTAB." 

71 



72 HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING 

And perhaps he had not fully 
Understood his author's meaning; 
But, whatever was the reason, 
All was fruitless, as the picture 
Ended in an utter failure. 

Next to him the eldest daughter : 
She suggested very little, 
Only asked if he would take her 
With her look of passive beauty.' 

Her idea of passive beauty 
Was a squinting of the left-eye, 
Was a drooping of the right-eye, 
Was a smile that went up sideways 
To the corner of the nostrils. 

Hiawatha, when she asked him. 
Took no notice of the question, 
Looked as if he hadn't heard it ; 
But, when pointedly appealed to, 
Smiled in his peculiar manner, 
Coughed and said it ' didn't matter,' 
Bit his lip and changed the subject. 

Nor in this was he mistaken, 
As the picture failed completely. 

So in turn the other sisterSo 




"NEXT TO HIM THE ELDEST DAUGHTER. 

73 



74 HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING 

Last, the youngest son was taken : 
Very rough and thick his hair was, 
Very round and red his face was. 
Very dusty was his jacket, 
Very fidgety his manner. 
And his overbearing sisters 
Called him names he disapproved of : 
Called him Johnny, ' Daddy's Darling,' 
Called him Jacky, c Scrubby School-boy.' 
And, so awful was the picture, 
In comparison the others 
Seemed, to one's bewildered fancy, 
To have partially succeeded. 

Finally my Hiawatha 
Tumbled all the tribe together, 
( c Grouped ' is not the right expression), 
And, as happy chance would have it 
Did at last obtain a picture 
Where the faces all succeeded : 
Each came out a perfect likeness. 

Then they joined and all abused it. 
Unrestrainedly abused it, 
As the worst and ugliest picture 
They could possibly have dreamed of. 




"LAST, THE YOUNGEST sox WAS TAKEN." 

75 



;6 HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING 

Giving one such strange expressions- 
Sullen, stupid, pert expressions. 
Really any one would take us 
(Any one that did not know us) 
For the most unpleasant people ! * 
(Hiawatha seemed to think so, 
Seemed to think it not unlikely). 
All together rang their voices, 
Angry, loud, discordant voices, 
As of dogs that howl in concert, 
As of cats that wail in chorus. 
But my Hiawatha's patience, 
His politeness and his patience. 
Unaccountably had vanished, 
And he left that happy party. 
Neither did he leave them slowly. 
With the calm deliberation, 
The intense deliberation 
Of a photographic artist : 
But he left them in a hurry, 
Left them in a mighty hurry, 
Stating that he would not stand it 3 
Stating in emphatic language 
What he'd be before he'd stand it. 



HIAWATHA'S PHOTOGRAPHING 77 

Hurriedly he packed his boxes: 
Hurriedly the porter trundled 
On a barrow all his boxes : 
Hurriedly he took his ticket : 
Hurriedly the train received him : 
Thus departed Hiawatha. 




L I 



MELANCHOLETTA 



WITH saddest music all day long 
She soothed her secret sorrow : 

At night she sighed " I fear 'twas wrong 
Such cheerful words to borrow. 

Dearest, a sweeter, sadder song 
I'll sins: to thee to-morrow." 

o 

I thanked her, but I could not say 

That I was glad to hear it : 
I left the house at break of day, 

And did not venture near it 
Till time, I hoped, had worn away 

Her grief, for nought could cheer it ! 

My dismal sister ! Could st thou know 

The wretched home thou keepest ! 

73 




"AT NIGHT SHE SIGHED." 
79 



8o MELANCHOLETTA 

Thy brother, drowned in daily woe, 
Is thankful when thou sleepest ; 

For if I laugh, however low, 

When thou'rt awake, thou weepest ! 

I took my sister t'other day 
(Excuse the slang expression) 

To Sadler's Wells to see the play 
In hopes the new impression 

Might in her thoughts, from grave to gay 
Effect some slight digression. 

I asked three gay young dogs from town 

To join us in our folly, 
Whose mirth, I thought, might serve to 
drown 

My sister's melancholy : 
The lively Jones, the sportive Brown, 

And Robinson the jolly. 

The maid announced the meal in tones 
That I myself had taught her, 

Meant to allay my sister's moans 
Like oil on troubled water : 



MELANCHOLETTA 81 

I rushed to Jones, the lively Jones, 
And begged him to escort her. 

Vainly he strove, with ready wit. 

To joke about the weather- 
To ventilate the last t on dit ' 

To quote the price of leather 
She groaned " Here I and Sorrow sit : 

Let us lament together ! ' 

I urged " You 're wasting time, you know : 
Delay will spoil the venison." 

" My heart is wasted with my woe \ 
There is no rest- -in Venice, on 

The Bridge of Sighs !" she quoted low 
From Byron and from Tennyson. 

I need not tell of soup and fish 

In solemn silence swallowed, 
The sobs that ushered in each dish 5 

And its departure followed, 
Nor yet my suicidal wish 

To be the cheese I hollowed. 



u 

(C 



82 MELANCHOLETTA 

Some desperate attempts were made 
To start a conversation ; 
Madam," the sportive Brown essayed, 

Which kind of recreation, 
Hunting or fishing, have you made 
Your special occupation ? ' 

Her lips curved downwards instantly, 

As if of india-rubber. 
" Hounds in full cry I like," said she : 
(Oh how I longed to snub her!) 
" Of fish, a whale's the one for me, 

// is so full of blubber ! ' 

The night's performance was " King John.' 
" It 's dull," she wept, a and so-so !' 

Awhile 1 let her tears flow on, 

She said they soothed her woe so ! 

At length the curtain rose upon 
c Bombastes Furioso.' 

In vain we roared ; in vain we tried 
To rouse her into laughter: 



MELANCHOLETTA 83 

Her pensive glances wandered wide 

From orchestra to rafter- 
" Tier upon tier I ' she said, and sighed ; 

And silence followed after. 



. 




G 2 



A VALENTINE 



[Sent to a friend who had complained that I was 
glad enough to see him when he came, but didn't 
seem to miss him if he stayed away.] 



And cannot pleasures, while they last, 

Be actual unless, when past, 

They leave us shuddering and aghast, 

With anguish smarting? 
And cannot friends be firm and fast, 

And yet bear parting? 

And must I then, at Friendship's call, 
Calmly resign the little all 
(Trifling, I grant, it is and small) 

I have of gladness, 
And lend my being to the thrall 

Of gloom and sadness ? 



A VALENTINE 85 

And think you that I should be dumb. 
And full dolorum omnium, 
Excepting when you choose to come 

And share my dinner ? 
At other times be sour and glum 

And daily thinner ? 

Must he then only live to weep, 

Who 'd prove his friendship true and deep 

By day a lonely shadow creep, 

At night-time languish, 
Oft raising in his broken sleep 

The moan of anguish? 

The lover, if for certain days 
His fair one be denied his gaze, 
Sinks not in grief and wild amaze, 

But, wiser wooer, 
He spends the time in writing lays, 

And posts them to her. 

And if the verse flow free and fast, 
Till even the poet is aghast, 



86 A VALENTINE 

A touching Valentine at last 

The post shall carry, 
When thirteen days are gone and past 

Of February. 

Farewell, dear friend, and when we meet, 
In desert waste or crowded street, 
Perhaps before this week shall fleet, 

Perhaps to-morrow. 
I trust to find your heart the seat 

Of wasting sorrow. 



THE THREE VOICES 



fftrst Dolce 




HE trilled a carol fresh and free, 
He laughed aloud for very glee : 
There came a breeze from off the sea 



88 THE THREE VOICES 

It passed athwart the glooming flat- 
It fanned his forehead as he sat- 
It lightly bore away his hat, 

All to the feet of one who stood 
Like maid enchanted in a wood, 
Frowning as darkly as she could. 

With huge umbrella, lank and brown, 
Unerringly she pinned it down, 
Right through the centre of the crown, 

Then, with an aspect cold and grim, 
Regardless of its battered rim, 
She took it up and gave it him. 

A while like one in dreams he stood, 
Then faltered forth his gratitude 
In words just short .of being rude: 

For it had lost its shape and shine, 
And it had cost him four~and-nine, 
And he was going out to dine. 




UNERRINGLY SHE PINNED IT DOWN." 
89 



90 THE THREE VOICES 

" To dine !" she sneered in acid tone. 
" To bend thy being to a bone 
Clothed in a radiance not its own ! ' 



The tear-drop trickled to his chin : 
There was a meaning in her grin 
That made him feel on fire within. 

<; Term it not ' radiance,' ' said he : 
" 'Tis solid nutriment to me. 
Dinner is Dinner : Tea is Tea." 

And she " Yea so ? Yet wherefore cease ? 
Let thy scant knowledge find increase. 
Say c Men are Men, and Geese are Geese.' 

He moaned : he knew not what to say. 
The thought " That I could get away !" 
Strove with the thought " But I must stay. 

" To dine ! " she shrieked in dragon-wrath. 
" To swallow wines all foam and froth ! 
To simper at a table-cloth ! 



>> 



THE FIRST VOICE 91 

<c Say, can thy noble spirit stoop 
To join the gormandising troop 
Who find a solace in the soup? 

" Canst thou desire or pie or puff? 
Thy well-bred manners were enough, 
Without such QTOSS material stuff." 

o 

" Yet well-bred men," he faintly said, 

" Are not unwilling to be fed : 

Nor are they well without the bread." 

Her visage scorched him ere she spoke : 
"There are," she said, "a kind of tolk 
Who have no horror of a joke. 

" Such wretches live : they take their share 
Of common earth and common air : 
We come across them here and there : 

" We grant them there is no escape 
A sort of semi-human shape 
Suggestive of the man-like Ape." 



92 THE THREE VOICES 

<c In all such theories," said he, 

" One fixed exception there must be. 

That is, the Present Company." 

Baffled, she gave a wolfish bark : 

He, aiming blindly in the dark, 

With random shaft had pierced the mark. 

She felt that her defeat was plain, 

Yet madly strove with might and main 

To get the upper hand again. 

Fixing her eyes upon the beach, 

As though unconscious of his speech, 

She said " Each gives to more than each." 

He could not answer yea or nay : 
He faltered " Gifts may pass away." 
Yet knew not what he meant to say. 

" If that be so, " she straight replied, 
" Each heart with each doth coincide. 
W^hat boots it ? For the world is wide." 




"HE FALTERED 'GIFTS MAY PASS AWAY, 



94 THE THREE VOICES 

" The world is but a Thought," said he : 
" The vast unfathomable sea 
Is but a Notion- -unto me." 

And darkly fell her answer dread. 

Upon his unresisting head, 

Like half a hundredweight of lead. 

" The Good and Great must ever shun 
That reckless and abandoned one 
Who stoops to perpetrate a pun. 

"The man that smokes that reads the 

Times 

That goes to Christmas Pantomimes- 
Is capable of any crimes!" 

He felt it was his turn to speak, 

And, with a shamed and crimson cheek, 

Moaned "This is harder than Beziquel' 

But when she asked him " Wherefore 

so ? ' 

He felt his very whiskers glow, 
And frankly owned " I do not know." 




"THIS IS HARDER THAN BEZIQUE!" 
95 



96 THE THREE VOICES 

While, like broad waves of golden grain, 
Or sunlit hues on cloistered pane, 
His colour came and went again. 

Pitying his obvious distress, 

Yet with a tinge of bitterness, 

She said " The More exceeds the Less.' 



" A truth of such undoubted weight," 
He urged, " and so extreme in date, 
It were superfluous to state." 



Roused into sudden passion, she 

In tone of cold malignity : 

" To others, yea : but not to thee." 

But when she saw him quail and quake, 
And when he urged " For pity's sake ! 
Once more in gentle tones she spake. 



11 



"Thought in the mind doth still abide 
That is by Intellect supplied, 
And within that Idea doth hide : 



THE FIRST VOICE 97 

u And he, that yearns the truth to know 
Still further inwardly may go, 
And find Idea from Notion flow: 

" And thus the chain, that sages sought, 

Is to a glorious circle wrought, 

For Notion hath its source in Thought. 

o 

So passed they on with even pace : 
Yet gradually one might trace 
A shadow growing on his face. 




H 



98 THE THREE VOICES 



Seconfc Doice 







THEY walked beside the wave-worn beach; 
Her tongue was very apt to teach, 
And now and then he did beseech 

She would abate her dulcet tone, 
Because the talk was all her own, 
And he was dull as any drone. 



THE SECOND VOICE 99 

She urged 4C No cheese is made of chalk ": 
And ceaseless flowed her dreary talk, 
Tuned to the footfall of a walk. 

Her voice was very full and rich, 

And, when at length she asked him 

"Which?" 
It mounted to its highest pitch. 

He a bewildered answer gave, 
Drowned in the sullen moaning wave, 
Lost in the echoes of the cave. 

He answered her he knew not what : 
Like shaft from bow at random shot, 
He spoke, but she regarded not. 

X 

She waited not for his reply, 
But with a downward leaden eye 
Went on as if he were not by 

j 

Sound argument and grave defence, 

O O 

Strange questions raised on iC Why ? ' and 

" W 7 hence ? " 
And wildly tangled evidence. 

H 2 



ioo THE THREE VOICES 



When he, with racked and whirling brain. 
Feebly implored her to explain. 
She simply said it all again. 

Wrenched with an agony intense, 

He spake, neglecting Sound and Sense, 

And careless of all consequence : 

" Mind- -I believe is Essence Ent- 
Abstract--that is an Accident- 
Which we- -that is to say- -I meant- 

When, with quick breath and cheeks all 

flushed,, 

At length his speech was somewhat hushed, 
She looked at him, and he was crushed. 

It needed not her calm reply: 
She fixed him with a stony eye, 
And he could neither fight nor fly. 

While she dissected, word by word, 

His speech, half guessed at and half heard, 

As might a cat a little bird. 




"HE SPAKE, NEGLECTING SOUND AND SENSE." 



101 



102 THE THREE VOICES 

Then, having wholly overthrown 

His views, and stripped them to the bone, 

Proceeded to unfold her own. 

a Shall Man be Man ? And shall he miss 
Of other thoughts no thought but this, 
Harmonious dews of sober bliss ? 

u What boots it ? Shall his fevered eye 
Through towering nothingness descry 
The grisly phantom hurry by? 

" And hear dumb shrieks that fill the air ; 
See mouths that gape, and eyes that stare 
And redden in the dusky glare ? 

" The meadows breathing amber light, 

O O ' 

The darkness toppling from the height, 
The feathery train of granite Night? 

" Shall he, grown gray among his peers, 
Through the thick curtain of his tears 
Catch glimpses of his earlier years, 




"SHALL MAN BE MAN?" 
103 



104 THE THREE VOICES 

" And hear the sounds he knew of yore, 
Old shufflings on the sanded floor, 
Old knuckles tapping at the door ? 

" Yet still before him as he flies 
One pallid form shall ever rise, 
And, bodying forth in glassy eyes 

" The vision of a vanished good, 

Low peering through the tangled wood, 

Shall freeze the current of his blood. 1 



Still from each fact, with skill uncouth 

And savage rapture, like a tooth 

She wrenched some slow reluctant truth. 

Till, like a silent water-mill, 

When summer suns have dried the rill, 

She reached a full stop, and was still. 

Dead calm succeeded to the fuss, 
As when the loaded omnibus 
Has reached the railway terminus ; 



THE SECOND VOICE 105 

When, for the tumult of the street, 
Is heard the engine's stifled beat, 

O ' 

The velvet tread of porters' feet. 

With glance that ever sought the ground, 
She moved her lips without a sound, 
And every now and then she frowned. 

He gazed upon the sleeping sea. 
And joyed in its tranquillity, 
And in that silence dead, but she 

To muse a little space did seem, 
Then, like the echo of a dream, 
Harked back upon her threadbare theme. 

Still an attentive ear he lent 

But could not fathom what she meant: 

She was not deep, nor eloquent. 

He marked the ripple on the sand : 
The even swaying of her hand 
Was all that he could understand. 



106 THE THREE VOICES 

He saw in dreams a drawing-room, 
Where thirteen wretches sat in gloom, 
Waiting- -he thought he knew for whom: 

He saw them drooping here and there. 
Each feebly huddled on a chair, 
In attitudes of blank despair : 

Oysters were not more mute than they, 
For all their brains were pumped away, 
And they had nothing more to say- 
Save one, who groaned " Three hours are 

o 



gone ! 

Who shrieked "WV11 wait no longer, John! 
Tell them to set the dinner on ! ' 

The vision passed : the ghosts were fled : 
He saw once more that woman dread : 
He heard once more the words she said. 

He left her, and he turned aside : 
He sat and watched the coming tide 
Across the shores so newly dried. 



5^\ ' v. 

, ' ' 




"HE SAT AND WATCHED THE COMING TIDE. 7 '" 

107 



loS 



THE THREE VOICES 



He wondered at the waters clear, 
The breeze that whispered in his ear, 
The billows heaving far and near, 

And why he had so long preferred 

To hang upon her every word : 

" In truth," he said, " it was absurd.' 




THE THREE VOICES 109 



Ubird Deuce 




NOT long this transport held its place : 

Within a little moment's space 

Quick tears were raining down his face 

His heart stood still, aghast with fear; 
A wordless voice, nor far nor near, 
He seemed to hear and not to hear. 



no THE THREE VOICES 

" Tears kindle not the doubtful spark. 
If so, why not ? Of this remark 
The bearings are profoundly dark." 

cc Her speech," he said, " hath caused this 

pain. 

Easier I count it to explain 
The jargon of the howling main, 

"Or, stretched beside some babbling brook, 
To con, with inexpressive look, 
An unintelligible book. 



Low spake the voice within his head, 
In words imagined more than said, 
Soundless as ghost's intended tread : 

" If thou art duller than before, 
Why quittedst thou the voice of lore? 
Why not endure, expecting more?' 

" Rather than that," he groaned aghast, 
" I 'd writhe in depths of cavern vast, 
Some loathly vampire's rich repast." 




"HE GROANED AGHAST.'"' 
in 



ii2 THE THREE VOICES 

" 'Twere hard," it answered, " themes 

immense 

To coop within the narrow fence 
That rings thy scant intelligence." 

" Not so," he urged, " nor once alone : 
But there was something in her tone 
That chilled me to the very bone. 

" Her style was anything but clear, 
And most unpleasantly severe ; 
Her epithets were very queer. 

"And yet, so grand were her replies, 
I could not choose but deem her wise ; 
I did not dare to criticise ; 

" Nor did I leave her, till she went 

So deep in tangled argument 

That all my powers of thought were spent." 

A little whisper inly slid, 

" Yet truth is truth : you know you did." 

A little wink beneath the lid. 



THE THIRD VOICE 113 

And, sickened with excess of dread, 
Prone to the dust he bent his head, 
And lay like one three-quarters dead 

The whisper left him- -like a breeze 
Lost in the depths of leafy trees- 
Left him by no means at his ease. 

Once more he weltered in despair, 

W T ith hands, through denser-matted hair, 

More tightly clenched than then they were. 

When, bathed in Dawn of living red, 
Majestic frowned the mountain head, 
" Tell me my fault," was all he said. 

When, at high Noon, the blazing sky 
Scorched in his head each haggard eye, 
Then keenest rose his weary cry. 

And when at Eve the unpitying sun 

Smiled grimly on the solemn fun, 

" Alack," he sighed, " what have I done ?' 

I 




' TORTURED, UNAIDED, AND ALONE," 
114 



THE THIRD VOICE 115 

But saddest, darkest was the sight, 
When the cold grasp of leaden Night 
Dashed him to earth, and held him tight. 

Tortured, unaided, and alone, 
Thunders were silence to his groan, 
Bagpipes sweet music to its tone : 

" What ? Ever thus, in dismal round, 
Shall Pain and Mystery profound 
Pursue me like a sleepless hound, 

ct With crimson-dashed and eager jaws, 
Me, still in ignorance of the cause, 
Unknowing what I broke of laws ?' 

The whisper to his ear did seem 
Like echoed flow of silent stream, 
Or shadow of forgotten dream, 

The whisper trembling in the wind : 
" Her fate with thine was intertwined," 
So spake it in his inner mind: 

I 2 




"A SCARED DULLARD, GIBBERING LOW. 

116 



THE THIRD VOICE 117 

" Each orbed on each a baleful star : 
Each proved the other's blight and bar : 
Each unto each were best, most far : 

" Yea, each to each was worse than foe : 
Thou, a scared dullard, gibbering low, 

SHE AN AVALANCHE OF WOE!' 



TEMA CON VARIAZIONI 

[WHY is it that Poetry has never yet been subjected 
to that process of Dilution which has proved so ad- 
vantageous to her sister-art Music? The Diluter 
gives us first a few notes of some well-known Air, 
then a dozen bars of his own, then a few more notes 
of the Air, and so on alternately : thus saving the 
listener, if not from all risk of recognising the melody 
at all, at least from the too-exciting transports which 
it might produce in a more concentrated form. 
The process is termed " setting " by Composers, and 
any one, that has ever experienced the emotion 
of being unexpectedly set down in a heap of mortar, 
will recognise the truthfulness of this happy phrase. 

For truly, just as the genuine Epicure lingers 
lovingly over a morsel of supreme Venison whose 
every fibre seems to murmur " Excelsior ! ' : -yet 
swallows, ere returning to the toothsome dainty, great 
mouthfuls of oatmeal-porridge and winkles : and just 
as the perfect Connoisseur in Claret permits himself 
but one delicate sip, and then tosses off a pint or 
more of boarding-school beer : so also- 

nS 



I NEVER loved a dear Gazelle- 
Nor anything that cost me much : 

High prices profit those who sell, 
But why should I be fond of such ? 

To glad me with his soft black eye 
My son comes trotting home from school; 

He's had a fight but cant tell why- 
He always was a little fool! 

But, when he came to know me well, 

He kicked me out, her testy Sire: 

And when I stained my hair, that Belle 
Might note the change, and thus admire 

And love me, it was sure to dye 
A muddy green or staring blue: 

Whilst one might trace, with half an eye, 
The still triumphant carrot through. 



A GAME OF FIVES 




FIVE little girls, of Five, Four, Three, Two, 

One : 
Rolling on the hearthrug, full of tricks and 

fun. 

Five rosy girls, in years from Ten to Six : 
Sitting down to lessons no more time for 
tricks. 

Five growing girls, from Fifteen to Eleven : 
Music, Drawing, Languages, and food 
enough for seven ! 



1-20 




"NOW TELL ME WHICH YOU MEAN I 



121 



122 A GAME OF FIVES 

Five winsome girls, from Twenty to Sixteen . 
Each young man that calls, I say " Now 
tell me which you mean ! ' 

Five dashing girls, the youngest Twenty- 
one: 

But, if nobody proposes, what is there to 
be done ? 

Five showy girls- -but Thirty is an age 
When girls may be engaging^ but they 
somehow don't engage. 

Five dressy girls, of Thirty-one or more : 
So gracious to the shy young men they 
snubbed so much before ! 

% % # * 

Five passe girls- -Their age ? Well, never 

mind! 
We jog along together, like the rest of 

human kind : 
But the quondam " careless bachelor ' 

begins to think he knows 
The answer to that ancient problem " how 

the money goes" ! 



POETA FIT, NON NASCITUR 




" How shall I be a poet? 
How shall I write in rhyme 



123 



124 POETA FIT, 

You told me once 'the very wish 

Partook of the sublime.' 
Then tell me how ! Don't put me off 

With your 'another time ' ! ' 

The old man smiled to see him, 

To hear his sudden sally ; 
He liked the lad to speak his mind 

Enthusiastically ; 
And thouht "There's no hum-drum in 






Nor any shilly-shally. 



" 



" And would you be a poet 
Before you've been to school ? 

Ah, well! I hardly thought you 
So absolute a fool. 

First learn to be spasmodic- 
A very simple rule. 

" For first you write a sentence, 
And then you chop it small ; 

Then mix the bits, and sort them out 
Just as they chance to fall : 



NON NASCITUR 125 

The order of the phrases makes 
No difference at all. 

: Then, if you'd be impressive. 

Remember what I say. 
That abstract qualities begin 

With capitals alway : 
The True, the Good, the Beautiful- 

Those are the things that pay ! 

" Next, when you are describing 

A shape, or sound, or tint; 
Don't state the matter plainly, 

But put it in a hint ; 
And learn to look at all things 

With a sort of mental squint." 

" For instance, if I wished, Sir, 

Of mutton-pies to tell, 
Should I say c dreams of fleecy flocks 

Pent in a wheaten cell ' ? ' 
" Why, yes," the old man said : " that 
phrase 

W r ould answer very well. 



126 POETA FIT, NON NASCITUR 

" Then fourthly, there are epithets 

That suit with any word- 
As well as Harvey's Reading Sauce 

With fish, or flesh, or bird- 
Of these, c wild,' 'lonely,' c weary,' 
c strange,' 

Are much to be preferred." 

" And will it do, O will it do 

To take them in a lump- 
As c the wild man went his weary way 

To a strange and lonely pump ' ? ' 
" Nay, nay ! You must not hastily 

To such conclusions jump. 

" Such epithets, like pepper, 
Give zest to what you write ; 

And, if you strew them sparely, 
They whet the appetite : 

But if you lay them on too thick, 
You spoil the matter quite ! 

" Last, as to the arrangement: 

Your reader, you should show him, 




"THE WILD MAN WENT HIS WEARY WAY." 



127 



128 POETA FIT, 

Must take what information he 
Can get, and look for no im- 
mature disclosure of the drift 
And purpose of your poem. 

" Therefore, to test his patience 
How much he can endure- 

Mention no places, names, or dates, 
And evermore be sure 

Throughout the poem to be found 
Consistently obscure. 

" First fix upon the limit 
To which it shall extend : 

Then fill it up with ' Padding ' 
(Beg some of any friend) : 

Your great SENSATION-STANZA 

o 

You place towards the end." 

" And what is a Sensation, 
Grandfather, tell me, pray ? 

I think I never heard the word 
So used before to-day : 



NON NASCITUR 129 

Be kind enough to mention one 
c Exempli gratia' 

And the old man, looking sadly 

Across the garden-lawn, 
Where here and there a dew-drop 

Yet glittered in the dawn, 
Said " Go to the Adelphi, 

And see the 'Colleen Bawn.' 

c The word is due to Boucicault- 

The theory is his, 
Where Life becomes a Spasm, 

And History a Whiz : 
If that is not Sensation, 

I don't know what it is. 

4< Now try your hand, ere Fancy 
Have lost its present glow ' 
" And then," his grandson added, 
"We'll publish it, you know: 
Green cloth- -gold- lettered at the back 
In duodecimo ! ' 



130 POETA FIT, NON NASCITUR 

Then proudly smiled that old man 

To see the eager lad 
Rush madly for his pen and ink 

And for his blotting-pad- 
But, when he thought of publishing^ 

His face grew stern and sad. 




SIZE AND TEARS 




WHEN on the sandy shore I sit, 
Beside the salt sea-wave, 

And fall into a weeping fit 
Because I dare not shave 



K 2 



132 SIZE AND TEARS 

A little whisper at my ear 
Enquires the reason of my fear. 



I answer "If that ruffian Jones 

Should recognise me here, 
He'd bellow out my name in tones 

Offensive to the ear : 
He chaffs me so on being stout 
(A thing that always puts me out)." 

Ah me ! I see him on the cliff! 

Farewell, farewell to hope, 
If he should look this way, and if 

He's got his telescope ! 
To whatsoever place I flee, 
My odious rival follows me ! 

J 

9 

For every night, and everywhere, 

I meet him out at dinner ; 
And when I've found some charming fair, 

And vowed to die or win her, 
The wretch (he's thin and I am stout) 
Is sure to come and cut me out 




' II T ' 



HE'S THIN AND I AM STOUT.' 



134 SIZE AND TEARS 

The girls (just like them !) all agree 
To praise J. Jones, Esquire : 

1 ask them what on earth they see 
About him to admire ? 

They cry " He is so sleek and slim, 

It's quite a treat to look at him ! ' 

They vanish in tobacco smoke, 

Those visionary maids- 
I feel a sharp and sudden poke 

Between the shoulder-blades- 
" Why, Brown, my boy! Your growing 

stout ! ' 
(I told you he would find me out!) 

" My growth is not your business, Sir ! ' 

" No more it is, my boy ! 
But if it's yours, as I infer. 

Why, Brown, I give you joy ! 
A man, whose business prospers so, 
Is just the sort of man to know ! 



" It's hardly safe, though, talking here- 
I'd best get out of reach : 



SIZE AND TEARS 

For such a weight as yours, I fear, 
Must shortly sink the beach ! ' 

Insult me thus because I'm stout ! 
I vow I'll go and call him out! 



135 




ATALANTA IN CAMDEN-TOWN 

AY, 'twas here, on this spot. 

In that summer of yore, 
Atalanta did not 

Vote my presence a bore, 
Nor reply to my tenderest talk " She had 
heard all that nonsense before." 

She'd the brooch I had bought 

And the necklace and sash on, 
And her heart, as I thought, 
Was alive to my passion ; 
And she'd done up her hair in the style that 
the Empress had brought into fashion. 



I had been to the play 

With my pearl of a Peri- 
But, for all I could say, 



She declared she was weary, 



ATALANTA IN CAMDEN-TOWN 137 




That <c the place was so crowded and hot, and 
she couldn't abide that Dundreary." 

Then I thought " Lucky boy ! 

'Tis for you that she whimpers ! ' 
And I noted with joy 

Those sensational simpers : 
And said " This is scrumptious ! a 



phrase I had learned from the Devon- 
shire shrimpers 



138 ATALANTA IN CAMDEN-TOWN 

And I vowed u 'Twill be said 

I 'm a fortunate fellow, 
When the breakfast is spread, 

When the topers are mellow, 
When the foam of the bride-cake is white, 
and the fierce orange-blossoms are 
yellow ! ' 

that languishing yawn ! 
O those eloquent eyes ! 

1 was drunk with the dawn 

Of a splendid surmise- 

I was stung by a look, I was slain by a tear, 
by a tempest of sighs. 

Then I whispered " I see 

The sweet secret thou keepest. 
And the yearning for ME 

That thou wistfully weepest ! 
And the question is ' License or Banns ? ', 
though undoubtedly Banns are the 
cheapest." 



ATALAXTA IN CAMDEN-TOWN 139 

" Be my Hero," said I, 

" And let me be Leander ! ' 
But I lost her reply- 
Something ending with " gander ' 
For the omnibus rattled so loud that no 
mortal could quite understand her. 



THE LANG COORTIN' 

THE ladye she stood at her lattice high, 

Wi' her doggie at her feet ; 
Thorough the lattice she can spy 

The passers in the street, 

''There's one that standeth at the door, 

And tirleth at the pin : 
Now speak and say, my popinjay, 

If I sail let him in." 

Then up and spake the popinjay 

That flew abune her head : 
44 Gae let him in that tirls the pin : 

He cometh thee to wed." 

O when he cam' the parlour in, 
A woeful man was he! 



140 



THE LANG COORTIN' 



141 




" And dinna ye ken your lover agen, 
Sae well that loveth thee? ' 

" And how wad I ken ye loved me, Sir, 
That have been sae lang away? 

And how wad I ken ye loved me, Sir? 
Ye never telled me sae." 

Said--"Ladye dear," and the salt, salt tear 

Cam' rinnin 1 doon his cheek, 
" I have sent the tokens of my love 

This many and many a week. 



142 THE LANG COORTIN' 

" O didna ye get the rings, Ladye, 
The rings o' the gowd sae fine ? 

I wot that I have sent to thee 

Four score, four score and nine.' 



" They cam' to me," said that fair ladye. 

<c Wow, they were m'msie things ! ' 
Said--" that chain o' gowd, my doggie to 
howd, 

It is made o' thae self-same rings." 

" And didna ye get the locks, the locks, 
The locks o' my ain black hair, 

Whilk I sent by post, whilk I sent by box, 
Whilk I sent by the carrier ? ' 

a They cam' to me," said that fair ladye ; 

" And I prithee send nae mair!' 
Said--" that cushion sae red, for my 
doggie's head, 

It is stuffed wi' thae locks o' hair." 

" And didna ye get the letter, Ladye, 
Tied wi' a silken string, 



THE LANG COORT1N' 143 

Whilk I sent to thee frae the far countrie, 
A message of love to bring ? ' 

"It cam' to me frae the far countrie 
Wi' its silken string and a' ; 

But it wasna prepaid," said that high-born 

maid, 
" Sae I ear'd them tak' it awa'. 



" O ever alack that ye sent it back, 

It was written sae clerkly and well ! 

Now the message it brought, and the boon 

that it sought, 
I must even say it mysel'." 

Then up and spake the popinjay, 

Sae wisely counselled he. 
" Now say it in the proper way : 

Gae doon upon thy knee ! ' 



The lover he turned baith red and pale, 
Went doon upon his knee : 

" O Ladye, hear the waesome tale 
That must be told to thee ! 



144 THE LANG COORTIN' 

" For five lang years, and five lang years, 

I coorted thee by looks ; 
By nods and winks, by smiles and tears, 

As I had read in books. 

a For ten lang years, O weary hours ! 

I coorted thee by signs ; 
By sending game, by sending flowers, 

By sending Valentines. 

" For five lang years, and five lang years, 
I have dwelt in the far countrie, 

Till that thy mind should be inclined 
Mair tenderly to me. 



" Now thirty years are gane and past, 
I am come frae a foreign land : 

I am come to tell thee my love at last- 
CD Ladye, gie me thy hand ! ' 



The ladye she turned not pale nor red, 
But she smiled a pitiful smile : 

" Sic' a coortin' as yours, my man," she said 
"Takes a lang and a weary while! ' 




AND OUT AND LAUGHED THE POPINJAY." 
'45. 



146 THE LANG COORTIN' 

And out ancl laughed the popinjay, 

A laugh of bitter scorn : 
" A coortin' done in sic' a way, 

It ought not to be borne ! ' 

Wi' that the doggie barked aloud, 

And up and doon he ran, 
And tugged and strained his chain o' 
gowd, 

All for to bite the man. 

" O hush thee, gentle popinjay! 

O hush thee, doggie dear ! 
There is a word I fain wad say, 

It needeth he should hear ! ' 

Aye louder screamed that ladye fair 
To drown her doggie's bark : 

Ever the lover shouted mair 
To make that ladye hark : 

Shrill and more shrill the popinjay 

Upraised his angry squall : 
I trow the doggie's voice that day 

Was louder than them all ! 




.. I > 



"0 HUSH THEE, GENTLE POPINJAY ! 

'47 L 2 



148 THE LANG COORTIN 1 

The serving-men and serving-maids 

Sat by the kitchen fire : 
They heard sic' a din the parlour within 

As made them much admire. 

Out spake the boy in buttons 

(I ween he wasna thin), 
" Now wha will tae the parlour gae, 

And stay this deadlie din ?' 

And they have taen a kerchief, 

Casted their kevils in, 
For wha will tae the parlour gae, 

And stay that deadlie din. 

When on that boy the kevil fell 
To stay the fearsome noise, 

" Gae in," they cried, " whate'er betide. 
Thou prince of button-boys ! ' 



Syne, he has taen a supple cane 
To swinge that dog sae fat: 

The doggie yowled, the doggie howled 
The louder aye for that. 




THE DOGGIE CEASED HIS NOISE.' 



150 THE LANG COORTIN' 

Syne, he has taen a mutton-bane- 
The doggie ceased his noise, 

And followed doon the kitchen stair 
That prince of button-boys ! 

Then sadly spake that ladye fair, 
Wi' a frown upon her brow : 

" O dearer to me is my sma' doggie 
Than a dozen sic* as thou ! 

" Nae use, nae use for sighs and tears : 

Nae use at all to fret : 
Sin' ye've bided sae well for thirty years, 

Ye may bide a wee langer yet ! ' 

Sadly, sadly he crossed the floor 

And tirled at the pin : 
Sadly went he through the door 

Where sadly he cam' in. 

" O gin I had a popinjay 

To fly abune my head, 
To tell me what 1 ought to say, 
I had by this been wed. 



THE LANG COORTIN' 

" O gin I find anither ladye," 
He said wi' sighs and tears, 

" I wot my coortin' sail not be 
Anither thirty years 

" For gin I find a ladye gay, 
Exactly to my taste, 

I'll pop the question, aye or nay, 
In twenty years at maist." 




FOUR RIDDLES 



[THESE consist of two Double Acrostics and two 

Charades. 

No. I. was written at the request of some young 
friends, who had gone to a ball at an Oxford Com- 
memoration and also as a specimen of what might 
be done by making the Double Acrostic a connected 
poem instead of what it has hitherto been, a string of 
disjointed stanzas, on every conceivable subject, and 
about as interesting to read straight through as a page 
of a Cyclopaedia. The first two stanzas describe the 
two main words, and each subsequent stanza one of 
the cross " lights." 

No. II. was written after seeing Miss Ellen Terry 
perform in the play of "Hamlet." In this case the 
first stanza describes the two main words. 

No. III. was written after seeing Miss Marion 
Terry perform in Mr. Gilbert's play of " Pygmalion 
and Galatea." The three stanzas respectively describe 

"My First," "My Second," and "My Whole."] 

152 



FOUR RIDDLES 153 

I 

THERE was an ancient City, stricken down 
With a strange frenzy, and for many a 

day 

They paced from morn to eve the crowded 
town, 

And danced the night away. 

o ^ 

* 

I asked the cause : the aged man grew sad : 
They pointed to a building gray and tall, 
And hoarsely answered " Step inside, my 
lad, 

And then you'll see it all." 



Yet what are all such gaieties to me 
hose t 

surds ? 



Whose thoughts are full of indices and 



1 1 
3* 



154 FOUR RIDDLES 

But something whispered "It will soon be 

done : 
Bands cannot always play, nor ladies 

smile : 

Endure with patience the distasteful fun 
For just a little while ! ' 

A change came o'er my Vision it was 

night : 
We clove a pathway through a frantic 

throng : 

The steeds, wild-plunging, filled us with 
affright : 

The chariots whirled along. 

Within a marble hall a river ran- 

A living tide, half muslin and half 

cloth : 

And here one mourned a broken wreath 
or fan, 

Yet swallowed down her wrath ; 

And here one offered to a thirsty fair 
(His words half-drowned amid those 
thunders tuneful) 



FOUR RIDDLES 155 

Some frozen viand (there were many there), 
A tooth-ache in each spoonful. 

g 

There comes a happy pause, for human 

strength 
Will not endure to dance without 

cessation ; 

And every one must reach the point at 
length 

Of absolute prostration. 

At such a moment ladies learn to give, 
To partners who would urge them over- 
much, 

A flat and yet decided negative- 
Photographers love such. 

There comes a welcome summons- -hope 

revives, 
And fading eyes grow bright, and pulses 

quicken : 

Incessant pop the corks, and busy knives 
Dispense the tongue and chicken. 



156 FOUR RIDDLES 

Flushed with new life, the crowd flows 

back again : 

And all is tangled talk and mazy motion 
Much like a waving field of golden grain, 
Or a tempestuous ocean. 

And thus they give the time, that Nature 

meant 

For peaceful sleep and meditative snores, 
To ceaseless din and mindless merriment 
And waste of shoes and floors. 

And One (we name him not) that flies the 

flowers, 
That dreads the dances, and that shuns 

the salads, 

They doom to pass in solitude the hours, 
Writing acrostic-ballads. 

How late it grows ! The hour is surely 

past 

That should have warned us with its 
double knock ? 



FOUR RIDDLES 157 

The twilight wanes, and morning comes at 
last 

" Oh, Uncle, what's o'clock ? ' 

The Uncle gravely nods, and wisely winks. 

It ma\ mean much, but how is one to 

./ * 

know ? 

He opens his mouth yet out of it, 
methinks, 

No words of wisdom flow. 



II 

EMPRESS of Art, for thee I twine 

This wreath with all too slender skill. 

Forgive my Muse each halting line, 
And for the deed accept the will ! 



O dav of tears i Whence comes this spectre 

grim, 
Parting, like Death's cold river, souls 

o J 

that love ? 



158 FOUR RIDDLES 

Is not he bound to thee, as thou to him, 
By vows, unwhispered here, yet heard 
above ? 



And still it lives, that keen and heavenward 

flame, 
Lives in his eye, and trembles in his 

tone : 

And these wild words of fury but proclaim 
A heart that beats for thee, for thee 
alone ! 

But all is lost : that mighty mind o'erthrown, 
Like sweet bells jangled, piteous sight 

to see ! 
" Doubt that the stars are fire," so runs his 

moan, 

" Doubt Truth herself, but not my love 
for thee ! ' 

A sadder vision yet : thine aged sire 

Shaming his hoary locks with treacherous 
wile ! 



FOUR RIDDLES 159 

And dost thou now doubt Truth to be a 

liar ? 

And wilt thou die, that hast forgot to 
smile ? 



Nay, get thee hence ! Leave all thy winsome 

ways 
And the faint fragrance of thy scattered 

flowers : 

In holy silence wait the appointed days, 
And weep away the leaden-footed hours. 



III. 

THE air is bright with hues of light 

And rich with laughter and with singing 
Young hearts beat high in ecstasy, 
And banners wave, and bells are ringing: 
But silence falls with fading day, 
And there's an end to mirth and play. 
Ah, well-a-day 



160 FOUR RIDDLES 

Rest your old bones, ye wrinkled crones ! 

The kettle sings, the firelight dances. 
Deep be it quaffed, the magic draught 

That fills the soul with golden fancies ! 
For Youth and Pleasance will not stay, 
And ye are withered, worn, and gray. 
Ah, well-a-day! 

O fair cold face ! O form of grace, 
For human passion madly yearning ! 

O weary air of dumb despair, 

From marble won, to marble turning ! 

" Leave us not thus ! ' we fondly pray. 

" We cannot let thee pass away ! ' 
Ah, well-a-day ! 



IV. 



MY First is singular at best : 

O 

More plural is my Second: 
My Third is far the pluralest- 
So plural-plural, I protest 

It scarcely can be reckoned 



FOUR RIDDLES 161 

My First is followed by a bird: 

My Second by believers 
In magic art: my simple Third 
Follows, too often, hopes absurd 

And plausible deceivers. 

My First to get at wisdom tries- 

A failure melancholy ! 
My Second men revered as wise : 
My Third from heights of wisdom flies 

To depths of frantic folly. 

My First is ageing day by day : 
My Second's age is ended : 

My Third enjoys an age, they say 3 

That never seems to fade away, 
Through centuries extended. 

My Whole? I need a poet's pen 
To paint her myriad phases : 

The monarch, and the slave, of men- 

A mountain-summit, and a den 
Of dark and deadly mazes- 



M 



162 FOUR RIDDLES 

A flashing light a fleeting shade- 
Beginning, end, and middle 
Of all that human art hath made 
Or wit devised 1 Go, seek her aid, 
If you would read my riddle 1 



FAME'S PENNY-TRUMPET 

[Affectionately dedicated to all " original researchers " 
who pant for "endowment. '] 

BLOW, blow your trumpets till they crack, 

Ye little men of little souls ! 
And bid them huddle at your back- 

Gold-sucking lee-ches, shoals on shoals! 

Fill all the air with hungry wails 
" Reward us, ere we think or write ! 

Without your Gold mere Knowledge fails 
To sate the swinish appetite ! ' 

And, where great Plato paced serene, 
Or Newton paused with wistful eye, 

Rush to the chace with hoofs unclean 
And Babel-clamour of the sty 



1 64 FAME'S PENNY-TRUMPET 

Be yours the pay : he theirs the praise ; 

We will not rob them of their due, 
Nor vex the ghosts of other days 

By naming them along with you t 

They sought and found undying fame : 
They toiled not for reward nor thanks : 

Their cheeks are hot with honest shame 
For you, the modern mountebanks ! 

AVho preach of Justice- -plead with tears 
That Love and Mercy should abound- 

\Vhile marking with complacent ears 
The moaning of some tortured hound : 

Who prate of Wisdom- -nay, forbear, 
Lest Wisdom turn on you in wrath, 

Trampling, with heel that will not spare, 
The vermin that beset her path ! 

Go, throng each other's drawing-rooms, 

Ye idols of a petty clique : 
Strut your brief hour in borrowed plumes, 

And make your penny-trumpets squeak : 




"GO, THRONG EACH OTHER'S DRAWING-ROOMS 

165 



1 66 FAME'S PENNY-TRUMPET 

Deck your dull talk with pilfered shreds 
Of learning from a nobler time, 

And oil each other's little heads 

With mutual Flattery's golden slime : 

And when the topmost height ye gain, 
And stand in Glory's ether clear, 

And grasp the prize of all your pain 
So many hundred pounds a year 

Then let Fame's banner be unfurled ! 

Sing Paeans for a victory won ! 
Ye tapers, that would light the world. 

And cast a shadow on the Sun- 

Who still shall pour His rays sublime, 
One crystal flood, from East to West, 

When ye have burned your little time 
And feebly flickered into rest! 



THE END 



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